Habitat now Fuller Center

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By Floyd Ingram

Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – The name has changed but the work of local people in this ministry has not.

Houston Habitat for Humanity became Fuller Center for Houston this month and members hope the change will be a better fit and help the agency as it seeks to provide affordable housing for the community.

“The mission and ministry will remain the same,” Fuller Center of Houston President Randy Rinehart. “The Fuller Center is much like Habitat, but more attuned to communities the size of Houston.”

Houston has built three Habitat houses and is in the process of building a fourth, which will be the first Fuller Center home. A crew from the Fuller Center will cycle through Houston in April and work on the house.

“The change to Fuller will not require us to do as much paperwork,” said Rinehart. “Habitat is a great organization, but they have a lot of rules and regulation that can be expensive to a chapter our size. We feel like this will be a better fit.”

And Fuller Center of Houston is not slowing down.

“We’ve done the dirtwork, foundation, framed it up and got the decking on,” said Rinehart. “We’ve got a church lined up to help us with the roofing Saturday.

Rinehart said anyone good with a hammer, paintbrush or who has construction skills is urged to call him at 542-1911.

And while people quickly think about shoveling concrete, hammering nails and painting they don’t realize months of planning and preparation occur before the first board goes into place.

Habitat is always looking for carpenters, masons, electricians and plumbers, but they are also looking for church laymen and laywomen, lawyers, social workers, teachers, administrators, bookkeepers, bankers and businessmen.

“I have looked over our committees and have come to the conclusion that no matter what your expertise or talent is, we have a place for you to serve,” said Rinehart. “If you have a heart for helping people get out of substandard housing and putting families into clean, safe and affordable homes, we’ve got a spot for you.”

Contrary to popular belief, neither Habitat nor the Fuller Center gives away houses. Every family chosen makes house payments and buys their home. Houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with low interest loans.

The money Fuller Center families pay in monthly mortgage payments is used to build still more houses in and around Houston.

And there is also “sweat equity,” where each family is required to literally work to build their home. Typically churches and volunteers come alongside the family and help with this labor.

Rinehart urged churches to look at their congregation and consider becoming a sponsor for a Habitat home.

“Churches are full of people who have the gifts and talents to make a home happen,” said Rinehart. “They also know how to minister to the needs of people and can make that long-term, personal commitment to each of these homes.”

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  • Chris Johnson

    Great article! I would note, though, that all Fuller Center mortgages — both in the U.S. and internationally — are zero-percent interest and not low-interest. That’s another area where Fuller Center differs from Habitat and is a founding principle that will not change.